Alaskan Cruise 2022: Seattle + Day One ๐Ÿšขโš“

This post is about our flight to Seattle and the first day of the cruise. We got up very early, so we would have plenty of extra time if anything should go awry. We got McDonald’s breakfast from the drive-through and drove the two or so hours to Orlando Airport. There we took a shuttle from the parking lot, and in no time at all we were ready to board the first of two flights to Seattle!

Orlando Airport was busy, but everything moved speedily along, no delays, no issues. With that said, we also did not have much time to spare. This was a bit of a bummer, as while we were in the TSA line, I saw the Universal store and almost lost my mind: it was full of Jurassic World stuff! I was unable to go in, but I did have *just* enough time to have my picture taken with this fantastic statue of Blue! It was so cool.

In what seemed a blink of an eye we were on the plane. This was the only time I had a window seat. I really hate flying, the takeoff and landing scares me a lot. So I was definitely apprehensive, and basically crushed our partner’s arm until we were on the air.

On the one hand I was happy because Christopher, our partner and I got to sit together during this flight. That was a big relief for me. But we were also on the very latest seat: we could not recline our seats and we smelled the bathroom all the way to Denver. Still, we were going on a cruise! So we were smiling all the same.

Here are all the pictures I took during the flight:

I bought a little snack at the airport which I shared with my guys:

Our partner was SUPER uncomfortable in his seat, it was so cramped and he was tired. Christopher played on his Switch a lot.

As for me, while I’d brought plenty of things to entertain myself with, I could do none of them. I was too excited (and occasionally scared by the plane). It felt like forever, but eventually, we landed!

To go from the mid 90s to this was mind-blowing…

Next flight –to Seattle! This time my sis in law got the window seat, but I got to sit next to her, and she let Dante look out of the window:

I hadn’t seen my sis in law since Christmas (I think?) and I missed her so much!

Airborne again! Lots of mountain views on this flight.

During the takeoff and landing, it was my sis-in-law’s turn to be crushed by me as I sought comfort. Soon, this flight, too, was over, and we were in Seattle. Mount Rainier in the distance!

After landing in Seattle, we went out to dinner at Olive Garden, and then walked around a really pretty mall. Eventually everyone but our partner and I returned to the hotel. We still had energy so we kept walking, I bought a present for Christopher and a coloring book for myself, and our partner bought macarons for everyone and a really pretty truffle for me that looked like a jewel.

(Seattle was actually VERY hot, which was unusual. This would make our last day in Seattle, on the day of our return, even weirder, because it would be cold as balls then!)

I was up early the next day. I showered and changed into my nautical outfit for the day. At the time I bought this sweater, I felt it was so expensive (over $40) and by this day I had already enjoyed very much the times I wore it. But for this day alone it would have felt worth the money. Not only did I match with Dante, but I got SO many comments on it! I felt very cute.

Everyone was already downstairs having breakfast, except, of course, for my sleepy men. Actually I think my sis-in-law was upstairs in the shower. I’m not sure. This day was a blur.

In no time at all everyone was downstairs, all bags packed, ready to take our shuttle to meet the ship. We were actually super early and did not think we would be able to board yet, just check in. But it turned out leaving ASAP was a great idea because we boarded as soon as we got there.

Anyway here’s Grandma and our partner as we waited for the shuttle. This photo makes me a little sad now. In the photos of this day Grandma still looks happy and energetic, but she would get so sick later during the trip. ๐Ÿ˜ž

Shuttle is here! Off to the dock! The shuttle smelled a bit funny.

I always find docks really cool. Interesting things are happening everywhere and everything feels larger than life.

We saw our ship from really far away. It was so massive!

The closer we got, the more surreal it felt. The ship is a floating city!

I took a couple of photos after our shuttle dropped us off. We gave our luggage to NCL staff and then it was off to check in.

A kind fellow tourist took this photo of us in front of the ship. Like this, it hardly looks like a ship at all. More line an apartment building behind us.

After check-in, we got out room keys! We would use this constantly to get all food and drinks during our stay. It says “welcome back” because our cruise was canceled twice. But it’s actually my first time.

Once we checked in and after a slight delay due to my paperwork (I wasn’t able to get my passport in time) the fact that this was actually happening became real. I pretty much dissolved in tears on my mom in law’s arms after holding all my excitement and worry in for so many months. She cried a bit too. And then we were given our group boarding card and sat to wait!

Very shortly after we were inside. Those moments stepping into the deck are unforgettable for me. What a feeling! And inside, it was so massive and sparkling. This is a brand new, barely used ship, and it showed!

The views of the water were already stunning to me, and we were still docked… I was certainly going to be plenty more stunned, particularly the next morning!

I took lots of pictures as we walked around. I’m sure I looked like a very dumb tourist, clutching my teddy bear, open mouthed and snapping pictures of everything.

Dante loved looking out the windows, too. It was so pretty, even though we were still docked:

In the beginning we sat around waiting a lot, as my mom in law talked to guest services a bunch of times to get some things sorted out. We were also still waiting for our luggage at this time.

Since our rooms were not ready yet, we decided to go have our first meal on the ship!

We ate at The Local Bar & Grill. This was the most lackluster food option aboard, we only ate one meal here. But we didn’t know that when we sat down, and the view from where we sat was great, so I was excited!

Slowly as we ate the ship became busier and busier. Eventually it was announced that everyone was on board, and still, the ship did not feel packed, which was nice.

By the time we were done with our meals, an announcer let us know that our rooms were ready, so we went to check them out.

The rooms were very comfortable and cute. The beds were hard though. But the view from the balcony was amazing!

After checking that we had our luggage and all was good, we decided to meander around the ship. At this time, we were still docked. It was very hot.

They had a model of our ship next to the Garden Cafe. It was very pretty and detailed!

We just kept walking around, snacking, drinking, and sitting in random places. We were relaxing but also waiting very excitedly for the journey to begin.

When it was almost time, we went outside to huge comfortable couches, got fresh drinks, and waited there.

And then we were off! It was time to say goodbye to Seattle and its heat.

Once we were officially at sea, we went directly to dinner.

The restaurant we ate at was called The Manhattan. It was a lovely meal.

There was more sitting and waiting around after dinner. I’m not sure what we were waiting for here. We might have gone to a show on this first night, I can’t recall. We went to many shows during the trip. Magic shows, comedy shows, musicals.

The day began to draw to a close. We were exhausted! For me, this was the prettiest sunset of the trip. Most days sunset and sunrise was kinda weird. Night would usually only last a few short hours and not get too dark. The sun wouldn’t set until 10:00pm and would begin to rise at 3:00am.

It began to cool down pretty fast as the hours went by, and we went to bed to recover and get ready to enjoy our first full day aboard. That’s coming on the next post!

Alaskan Cruise 2022: We’re Off! ๐Ÿšขโš“

Hello, everyone! It’s time to blog all about our cruise. For clarity’s sake on my blog, I decided to post-date each day (I am making one separate post per day because I took so many photos). Officially, I am writing this post on July 8th, 2022, but it is dated June 24th. I hope that makes sense.

June 24th is the day that we left for Sebastian, FL (where my mom-in-law lives). From there, very early in the morning we would go to Orlando airport (a two hour drive) to meet our flight for Denver, then Seattle. We would spend a night in Seattle and board our ship, the Norwegian Encore, the next morning. This post is just about Friday.

I started packing on Monday, and packed very meticulously. Every outfit in its own little bag. I packed a different outfit for every day, including a few bag and shoe options, and one Lolita dress (my Krad Lanrete’s Lost In Sea JSK, which felt appropriate).

Guess which one is my suitcase?

Of course, Dante was all decked out in his sailor suit! And I made him a better-matching, smaller name necklace that would look better with it.

Shortly before noon (when our Walgreens COVID tests were scheduled) we were officially off!

Better strap in, Dante…

Our tests done, we were off to Sebastian. I got McNuggets and fries for lunch!

Our partner drove all the way, since Christopher had a headache. He was able to nap a little on the way.

We got home to family in a flurry of excitement. By the time we arrived, everyone (including us) had received our negative results. We got ours while still driving, and that was the first time I teared up. But I still felt like something might go wrong… a missed flight, a sudden onset of symptoms in spite of the tests, something wrong with my paperwork (I went without a passport, using my naturalization certificate and ID, which SHOULD be okay, but I was stressing about it). So you could say my excitement was still very cautious.

On the dining room table there were special water bottles that my mom in law and her roommate (and our travel companion as well) made and designed for each of us, which also reflected the two cancellations. I ended up not using it during the cruise (there was too much alcohol to be had instead of water) but I love it so much.

Additionally, as you can see, there was an extra surprise for me of four Jurassic World Kinder Joy eggs. I couldn’t hug my mom in law tight enough!

Falling asleep on this night was really hard. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the mix of excitement, and dread from worry, that I felt all evening.

Jurassic Jumble ๐Ÿฆ–

I’m running out of clever titles for my Jurassic-haul related posts… Anyway… my Jurassic Park Switch case by Numskull Designs arrived! This is one of my favorite items in my entire JP/JW collection. I collect Switch cases, but donโ€™t have many because Iโ€™m picky with them. I have a Pokรฉmon one, an Animal Crossing one, a Super Mario one, and now this one!

My only gripe is that it doesnโ€™t have a stand like my others to hold the Switch while I play with a controller, something I do a lot in the backseat during road trips. But quality wise itโ€™s amazing. No cost spared in materials and construction.

Hereโ€™s a little video so you can see the wonderful texture of the case. Itโ€™s truly my most beautiful case by a long shot, a true collectorโ€™s item.

I was surprised yesterday to find another Good2Grow #JurassicWorld topper! Now I have five different ones in my collection, not counting any of the Podz.

โœจ๐ŸŒˆ Atrociraptor ๐ŸŒˆโœจ

Itโ€™s here!! Such a cutie!

Lookit those liโ€™l chompers ๐Ÿ‘€

He doesnโ€™t come with batteries so I havenโ€™t tested him yet, but I do look forward to it.

The next Jurassic item I will share is bound to be one of the Build-a-Bear plushies. I have a $10 certificate to use, but haven’t decided if I want Rexy or Beta yet. I’ll probably go tomorrow, though.

After that, expect the next batch in July. It’s my birthday and I’ve naturally asked everyone for more Jurassic junk. ๐Ÿ˜ It is “Jurassic Summer” after all!

Is It Bad To Enjoy It all? ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

As time goes by, Iโ€™ve become really passionate both about the Jurassic franchise and about paleontology. These are completely different things, obviously. I have to say though, JP/JW absolutely had a major impact in my interest in actual, fact-based natural history.

Of course, Jurassic Park / Jurassic World, the franchise, is almost entirely pure fantasy โ€”even more than I realized as a kid. But finding that out didnโ€™t bother me? ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ I love both things (fictional and factual dinosaurs) equally for different reasons. As I participate more in these Twitter communities though, Iโ€™m honestly saddened by the vitriol and the hate towards Jurassic Park / Jurassic World.

I see it mostly come from people seriously into paleontology and natural history, and to me it seems misplaced. Iโ€™m not the only person I know who became interested in the scientific aspect because of โ€œcool monster dinosโ€ as a kid. I dunno.

Expecting the movies to be realistic documentaries seems odd to me. Seeing the infighting / hate makes me sad. Itโ€™s easier to enjoy things for what they are and find common ground as we celebrate what makes us happy and passionate without always taking dunks at what others love.

Soon Sailing Away… Maybe ๐Ÿšข

Hey everyone! ๐Ÿป๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿšข You might remember that our big family vacation (a cruise) was postponed two years in a row. Then, the consolation trip planned after that second cancellation was botched as well. After so much disappointment, Iโ€™ve held any talk about it in –until now.

The cruise is (maybe? finally?) happening beginning next Thursday. Iโ€™ll be away for over ten days. During that time (6/23 to 7/5) Iโ€™ll be basically completely unreachable. We will have a friend stay over at our place to take care of our house and animals during our absence.

As the day draws so near, I have to start making final prep, even as my excitement will continue to be held in until weโ€™ve all tested negative and safely boarded. I canโ€™t help but brace for disappointment again. But there is a tiny hope burning inside me.

Already there was a disappointment: my mom can’t attend (USCIS still hasn’t completed her paperwork) and this means a $1,000 fine from the total cost, which is terrible. But it’s something we knew from the start might happen.

Apprehension aside… I had to smile today looking at my little Dante, the bear I intended to bring on this trip from the start, wearing his brand new travel clothes! I think he looks pretty dapper.

Really, the only potential complication is someone testing positive. So we are all trying to be as careful as possible regarding crowds and such. If it all goes through, I hope to have a lot to share with you when I get back!

โœ’๏ธ Line-Art โœ’๏ธ [Els]

Enhanced line art commission for LittlestLamb!

(Please do not color/edit this line art if you are not the person featured unless they asked you or gave you explicit permission. Thank you!)

๐Ÿ„ Artwork is ยฉ 2022 by Marina Neira McKinzie. You may NOT copy, color, reference, repost or use this artwork in any way or claim it as your own. Only the commissioner/giveaway winner & those featured in the artwork may repost with credit and following my Terms of Use.